Mike Adams At His Honest Weight is the flagship recording project of Mike Adams, a musician, writer, TV host, and humorist from Bloomington, Indiana. Most of his songs are written and recorded by Adams, alone before they are handed off to confidant, Adam Jessup, for further production and polishing. On Casino Drone, his third solo album (released by Joyful Noise Recordings in mid-2016), Adams emerges as a power-pop elder statesman who is at once ambitious, idiosyncratic, and confident.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Adams, whose own work is a credit to his home city, to ask about his favorite bands from Bloomington. This is who he admires:
This was a very hard list to make! There’s always tons of great music in Bloomington (especially for such a small town), and its constantly shifting and evolving. I imposed some serious restrictions on myself just to narrow this thing down. This is also my gut reaction, this list could look a lot different if you asked me tomorrow, or yesterday, or an hour from now. We have an embarrassing wealth of great music around here.
Sir Deja Doog
Doog’s music is like Bobby “Boris” Pickett meets Lou Reed. It feels dangerous and uninhibited in the exact way that Rock n Roll is supposed to, AND the songs are spooky and catchy as Hell. Also, Doog’s stage presence is completely electrifying.
Brendas Friend is Amy O and Erin Tobey (fantastic solo artists in their own right). Together they’re magic. Loads of engaging harmony, head-spinning guitar playing, aggressive rockers, soothing ballads, super-cool aesthetic…they’re a hit! Their tune “House Down” has been my go-to pump up jam for several months now.
Austerity Measures was an instant new favorite album for me when it came out a couple of years ago and I listen to it often. Its an abstract collection of hypnotic, meditative, and disjointed electronic beats and atmosphere. It’s soft and round, but also deep and interesting. And, a Goodhands Team live show feels like peeking through the observation window of a scientist’s laboratory.
These dudes are a real Bloomington treasure. They’re freely creative, fun and endlessly entertaining, not to mention they consistently write absolutely killer tunes. They also have an enviable, innate ability to blow social and genre barriers apart with their magnetic personalities and unquestionable good music.
Durand Jones & The Indications
Durand kinda came out of nowhere and is presently exploding all over the place, in a national sense. His music is deep-groove, Neo-Basement-Soul in the most unassuming and genuine way. Its danceable, thoughtful and heartbreaking/mending at the same time, exactly what you want!
Justin Vollmar is somewhat of an artistic hero of mine. He exudes patience and care, his songs are crafted, deliberate and fragile. Then again, I’ve also heard him rock in a wild sort of way that leaves the hinges a bit loose (hear: “It Doesn’t Matter Much”). He’s unpredictable and always exactly right.
Lennon is a prolific local TV producer and Bloomington legend who recently ventured into songwriting and has released 20 albums in the last few years. When I asked him about his recording process, he told me that he records the drums and vocals live, then puts the guitars/keyboards/bass on in overdubs. I’d classify Lennon’s music somewhere in a cloud between Frank Zappa, Wesley Willis, Neil Diamond and Daniel Johnston.
Amy & The Dancebox
I got to see Amy perform live before I ever heard any of her recordings. The show knocked me out, and I remember vividly the day I first heard her album. I dropped everything I was doing and excitedly, intently listened to the whole thing in my living room. I love it. She wrote original songs over Casio-keyboard style auto-chord demos, and they’re super catchy and lyrically challenging and playful. Sadly, Amy passed away a few years ago, but thankfully she left this incredible record behind for us all.
Terremoto was a very short-lived and mysterious band in Bloomington around 2003/5ish. I don’t know much about them, and I never really knew any of the members. There’s no information online either, but I made it my beeswax to be at every Terremoto show I possibly could. It was unabashed Black Sabbath-style riffing mixed with prog arrangement and Kraut-leaning repetition, and always very surprising. I remember bobbing my head and grinning uncontrollably at many of these shows.
Early Day Miners
EDM was the very first Bloomington band I loved. Their record All Harm Ends Here is a desert-island-album for me. Red House Painters meets Daniel Lanois meets Sunny Day Real Estate (and more recently meets New Order). Every album is expansive and beautiful.
(Visit Mike Adams At His Honest Weight here: http://www.mikeadams.info.)